Does Joe Soucheray Read His Own Paper? #Vikings Stadium Wilfare & Property Taxes

Joe Soucheray has a column out today where he claims that a .5% addition Ramsey County’s sale tax to support financially struggling Vikings team owners and Vikings season ticket holder would go practically unnoticed. Joe says that he can afford it.

Within the article, he also mentions property taxes:

Property taxes in Ramsey County are outrageous and getting worse. But you would be hard-pressed to get people to show up and complain with such fervor as they demonstrated the other night about the Vikings stadium.

That 0.5 percent sales tax would mean a nickel every time you spent $10. Not even the most down on their luck would notice it. What we wouldn’t give for a property tax bill that we wouldn’t even notice in our family budgeting.

Which makes me wonder if Joe reads his own paper. If he did, he may have noticed this nugget back in July where the City of St. Paul sent a formal rejection to Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett’s request for support of his Arden Hills Wilfare plan. In that letter, the City of St. Paul pointed out that a .5% sales tax increase would be the equivalent to a 17% increase in property taxes.

So, if property taxes are outrageous and getting worse, how can one possibly justify a sales tax increase that’s equivalent making property taxes 17% more outrageous? It doesn’t take much garage logic to understand that 17% is 17% whether it’s extracted from the public through sales taxes rather than property taxes.

Perhaps Joe’s garage logic has been tainted by purple pride? Regardless, it’s an intellectually dishonest argument to suggest that .5% is not a lot of money. If it wasn’t a lot of money, Zygi Wilf and Vikings fans would simply pay it themselves rather than begging for a dedicated .5% sales tax earmarked for their business and team.

20 thoughts on “Does Joe Soucheray Read His Own Paper? #Vikings Stadium Wilfare & Property Taxes”

  1. No doubt a .5 percent increase in sales would amount to a lot of money. Soucheray said no one would notice it (I don’t have the inclination to read the rest of his column, that snippet was good enough). And he’s right. I defy anyone who says they would notice it, unless it shows up on some big ticket purchase like a new car that was paid completely in cash.

  2. @Rat, I don’t know how Vikings fans can both make the case that .5% additional sales tax (a 7% increase over the current rate) isn’t a lot of money, yet at the same time refuse to pay for the stadium themselves. If Vikings fans that regularly attend games, including season ticket holders, each chipped in, say, $6,000 each, the team could stop begging Ramsey County, get their check for $300,000,000 from the state (assuming the state goes along with what Dayton said he would be willing to commit), and start building a new stadium.

    But, instead of spending their own money, they literally want to nickel and dime the public on every $10 and $20 purchase to subsidize their entertainment.

  3. Ok, you make the case that 10 cents on a $20 bar tab is a lot of money. Go ahead. Maybe it would be for you. I think at some point you claimed that you’ve eaten at something like 800 different restaurants. If they were all in Ramsey County, that could add up.

  4. @Rat, I do eat out a lot, and like Joe Soucheray, paying an additional .5% sales tax on purchases within Ramsey County would not be a financial burden for me. But, if somehow I haven’t been clear enough about this already, Ramsey County has greater needs for any additional revenue it can bring in than providing welfare to a guy in New Jersey over veiled threats of moving his entertainment business to California.

  5. What I dislike about those arguments (“it wouldn’t even be noticed”) is that it can be applied to every little tax increase, but obviously all these insignificant increases add up to be meaningful.

  6. Furthermore, just because it is a small percentage and wouldn’t be noticed on small purchases, that doesn’t mean it’s ok for him (Wilf) to beg money off of us.

  7. His point is that there are all kinds if special interest money approved for various groups demands. Whenever stadiums come up people freak, but the sane types of requests are there for bike paths, performing arts centers, etc. Like stadiums, some people use these, others don’t, and yet we’re all requested to fund these other activities, and that’s ok? Be consistent then. Lets have the people vote in these things as well.

  8. Again, I have no problem with the Vikings getting or not getting the money. However, if the do not get the money, let’s make sure that far more profitable Minnesota companies (Target, 3M, Best But, Super Valu, Medtronic, UHG, etc.) are treated the same and that means ending the handouts to all of them!

  9. “Lets have the people vote in these things as well.”

    I think first there has to be a vote on whether we vote on them in the future.

  10. @bill Carlson:

    You must have forgotten the election in 2008 where Minnesotans VOTED for a tax increase support the things you mentioned.

  11. @bill Carlson

    Since when are bike paths special interest? Bike paths are cheap! Compared to automobile infrastructure you can move way more people with the same amount of investment. Performing arts centers do not really make anyone a ton of money, unlike the Wilfs would stand to make on a new stadium.

    I would be totally in favor of this stadium if is was not a sum of money that was about a quarter the amount that caused the state to shut down in July.

  12. “Since when are bike paths special interest? Bike paths are cheap!”

    Not sure what the first sentence has to do with the second. For the most part the paths serve the interest of this city’s population of young adults who are crazy about bicycles.

  13. Actually Rat, the separate bike paths and clearly demarked bike lanes serve the purposes of all transit users since it helps keep the walkers in the walk lanes, bikers in the bike lanes, and cars in the car lanes. That is not so much a special interest as a societal interest.

    If you wish a visual example, go drive around Lake Harriet this afternoon and try to imagine what that drive would be like if there were no bike lanes, and all the runners, walkers, bladers, bikers where trying to fit on a single sidewalk or in the roadway.

    I used to argue that drivers needed to drive better, to spot and allow for bikers better…then I gave up when the economy tanked and more people were forced to walk and bike. Trust me when I acknowledge there are a lot of bad pedestrians, bikers, and drivers out there on the roads. The problem is the car always wins, even when it is in the wrong.

  14. “then I gave up when the economy tanked and more people were forced to walk and bike.”=======Pray tell, who are those people? The ones I would come into contact with around Lake Harriet? I want more than your word on who is forced to walk and bicycle because of the economy.

  15. @Rat, perhaps the 18% of Minneapolis households who don’t own a car aren’t forced to walk and bike, but they are certainly doing you a lot of favors. They cause less congestion for you when you drive, put less wear and tear on the streets you pay for, and are less likely to kill you if they happen to accidentally hit you.

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